Archive for the ‘Television’ Category

professional wrestlingI can’t deny it. I’ve been a fan since I was 7 years old. I was a fan during the 80’s, I was a fan during the 90’s, and I’m still a “casual” fan today (i.e. somebody who follows it but doesn’t like to tell anybody).

My guilty pleasure is professional wrestling.

tumblr_mcn1srz8ZL1rpw70to7_1280It’s weird, because for the longest time I was one of those “proud wrestling fans”. Y’know the type; completely happy with knowing that it’s a “male soap opera” and defending it as “sports meets entertainment” in the most masculine of ways. Or maybe they throw in the whole “the choreography might be there, but the punishment these guys take on their bodies is real” argument.

The problem with that line of thinking, however, is that at the end of the day you’re still watching grown men in spandex underwear pretending to fight each other.

It sucks you in at an early age, too. Boys are going to like hard-hitting sports like football or action movies like The Avengers or kick-ass games like Halo. As a result, they’re also going to like professional wrestling.

Listen, I can’t sit here and tell the world that I’m NOT a wrestling fan because I’d be lying. I wish I could sit here and eloquently describe to you just why I’m drawn to this…sport? I want to be able to describe just how much of an art there is to making wrestling look real and also be entertaining at the same time.

But I can’t.

warrior_crop_650x440It’s silly and I love it. It’s over-the-top personalities and characters and spectacle and sports and a rock concert and pyrotechnics and fantasies come to life all wrapped-up in one kick-your-ass package. It’s everything I always thought I wanted in entertainment…it’s a one-stop shop for dudes and hardcord dudettes.

Think about this: where else in the world can you find a theatre that not only can get a reaction out of 20,000 people, but elicit that response from just one person? I don’t know what theatres YOU visit, but I don’t know the last time I saw an interactive play.

Professional wrestling is a lot of different things to a lot of different people. The problem, though, is that it’s always been seen as entertainment for the “lowest common denominator” when it comes to the public: redneck low-income low-intelligence yokels who still think professional wrestling is real. The reality of the situation, however, is that it has been turned into family entertainment for all shapes and sizes and from all different kinds of backgrounds.

The key, though, is that it’s not “cool” to admit to watching wrestling at the moment. In the 80’s, it was mainstream. In the late-90’s, it was mainstream. Right now? Not so much.

wwe-mnr_0Don’t believe me? Do you know what a Ryback is? Do you care? Do you want to explain to your co-worker why Sin Cara will never be the next Rey Mysterio? Do you think you can explain why The Miz simply doesn’t work as a babyface?

Didn’t think so.

So while not nearly as popular as it used to be, there is still a MASSIVE audience for professional wrestling. And because 90% of those fans are too embarrassed to actually tell anybody about it, they help to make this the very definition of what a guilty pleasure is all about.

Wipeout

Posted: August 14, 2011 in Television
Tags: , ,

How in the world can you describe “Wipeout” in a way that can truly tell people who haven’t seen it what it’s all about?  Well…at least describe it in a way that doesn’t make you cringe when you say “big red balls”.

It’s billed as a show where people compete on the “world’s largest obstacle course”. But in reality, it’s just a way to show people falling, getting hit in the face (or other parts of the body that make one chuckle), falling some more, and generally “wiping out” in ways that you never see in real life. Because the show is done with foam obstacles and involves water, the contestants rarely get injured so that makes it fun to laugh at their expense.

C’mon…haven’t you seen a small child fall down and want to snicker just a little bit, but you couldn’t because they were hurt?  This is the adult version and it’s safe…so it’s fun for all to point and laugh.

The show itself was inspired by Japanese game shows like Takeshi’s Castle, which has had a cult following for years (it was on back in the 80’s) and it also showcased people being embarrassed for a multitude of reasons.

I have to admit to being a fan.  I had to stop watching it with my son, though, because even though he loved it and laughed all the way through (awww…such a great father/son bonding moment), he began jumping from one piece of furniture to the other in an attempt to copy what he was seeing.  NOT what I had in mind.

But yet here I am…still writing about a show I can watch at any time day or night and, regardless of whether or not I’ve seen it before, I’ll laugh each and every time.

Am I proud of it?  Not really.  It’s a VERY silly show.  But the fact that I’m not proud to watch it and yet I continue to watch it is the very definition of guilty pleasure.

Sigh…I love you, Wipeout.

They’re just good ol’ boys who don’t mean any harm.

And there’s something intoxicating about watching a redneck family wearing tight jeans running moonshine and jumping cars over rivers.

There…that pretty much sums up the entire series, doesn’t it?

Bo and Luke Duke were popular for two reasons: all men wanted to be them and all women wanted to be with them. They drove all around Hazzard County, Georgia in a modified 1969 Dodge Charger RT, doing their best to stay on their best behaviour (they were on probation)…so the “good ol’ boys” were also a bit on the bad side, making them more appealing to those watching.

From 1979 thru 1985 (minus the vast majority of the ‘82/’83 season…which was the infamous “Coy & Vance Duke” season), both Tom Wopat and John Schneider were considered pin-ups for the teenage girl set. In addition, cousin Daisy (i.e. Catherine Bach) was famous for…well…nothing, really, other than wearing short shorts and showing off her, ummm, assets.

Everybody in the cast seemed to get their chance in the spotlight, with the evil Boss Hogg and the inept Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane being extremely popular characters, and even the secondary character of Deputy Enos Strate (later Sheriff Enos) getting his own spin-off program once the series ended.

With video games and movie remakes and syndication of the program, the popularity of the Dukes has continued and even grown over time. But if you happen to sit back and watch the show today, you’ll totally understand why it’s considered an all-time guilty pleasure.

Yeah…STARS.

Listen, this is a program about ballroom dancing. That, in and of itself, should make this guilty pleasure heaven, right? Well…add to ballroom dancing a cast half made up of washed-up also-rans and never-were’s, and you’ve got everything you need in order to have an awesome television-based guilty pleasure.

Seriously…Drew Lachey? Lisa Rinna? Michael Bolton? Donny Osmond? Jerry Springer? John Ratzenberger? THE SITUATION???

People…these are the RECOGNIZABLE NAMES. Celebrities? I suppose. Stars? I don’t think so.

But at the end of the day, that doesn’t really seem to matter. We close our eyes and tell ourselves that we’re watching “stars” in a ballroom dancing competition.

Again…let me stress…BALLROOM DANCING COMPETITION.

Sure, Dancing with the Stars is one of the highest-rated television shows year after year…but how many people sit around the water cooler the next day to discuss how great Penn Jillette was during his tango the night before?

Nah…didn’t think so.

When NYPD Blue debuted, most of the hype (aside from seeing bare butts on network television) was about this fierce new actor who had the steel-like gaze that sent women’s hearts aflutter and the bad guys screaming in terror.

It soon became apparent that “the gaze” was his only real acting gift.

Yet somehow, David Caruso ended up on one of the most popular shows on TV, CSI: Miami, and has been portraying the part of Horatio Caine since 2002, much to the secret delight of millions.

WHAT?? You are unfamiliar with the Shakespearean workings of Mr. Caruso? Well…this oughta answer any and all questions (this truly is phenomenal):